Tragic UTC mass shooting leaves witnesses questioning motive
by BLAKE BUNCH
Published - 05/05/17 - 08:09 AM | 2872 views | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Following the April 30 shooting at the La Jolla Crossroads apartment complex, which left Monique Clark, a 35-year-old mother of three, dead, several victims and witnesses are hesitant to dismiss the notion, provided by San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, that race did not play a factor in the shooting.

The shooter, 49-year-old Peter Raymond Selis, was white.

Seven others were injured in the shooting. According to reports, four women and three men were shot. The victims were identified only as four black women, two black men, and a Hispanic man. Their names were not immediately released.

"We believe that there is zero information to indicate that race played a factor in this terrible and horrific crime,” Zimmerman said at a May 1 press conference. “He simply targeted his victims because they just happened to be there. What started as a celebration of a friend's birthday party turned into a tragedy of epic proportion for all those in attendance."

Thomas Blea, 34, was recently released from Scripps Memorial Hospital, where he was treated for a gunshot wound to the leg. Blea thanked first responders for their quick actions. Four victims were brought to Scripps Memorial, while two were brought to Mercy.

SDPD has placed their focus for the gunman’s motive as him being distraught over a breakup with his ex-girlfriend. Selis called his ex after shooting two people, telling her what he had done.

"Selis and his girlfriend recently broke up, and family and friends of the suspect said that he was distraught and depressed about the breakup,” said Zimmerman. “Selis is a La Jolla Crossroads resident. He called his ex-girlfriend and told her that he 'had shot two people' and continued firing until police arrived at the scene. We believe that he wanted his ex-girlfriend to listen to him carry out his rampage.”

After SDPD airborne ABLE units informed ground officers that Selis was reloading, they moved in, shooting and killing the suspect.

According to witnesses, prior to Selis being taken out by SDPD, he targeted non-white victims. Also, they claim that he specifically avoided shooting white people who were in his direct vicinity.

“This was partially, to some, in fact, a crime full of hate or a racially motivated crime," said party attendee and witness Lauren Chapman. “We say that given, when we had our friend (Clark) laying on the ground, and we had a caucasian friend trying to tend to her, Selis told her not to administer aid.”

Another witness, Mychael Gary, also heard Selis specifically say “Do not touch her,” when the woman attempted to help Clark.

Victims are also questioning first responders’ response time.

“I said my friends are here dying. We need help, you need to come quicker and the ambulance is going the wrong way,” said witness Mollique Johnson at a May 2 press conference.

“Run back in the pool and the man is shot and dead, and my friends are still laying on the ground and there’s no ambulance,” witness Hailey Thames described. “Now my friend is dead because they did not follow instructions, it was not correct. They didn’t do things right. They need to improve it because no one should die.”

Although the motive for this act of violence is currently being debated, it is unusual for police to rule out race as a factor so early on (less than 24 hours) into an investigation.

"Monique didn't deserve this," said friend Drew Phillips, who was also at the party. "You're at a pool party hanging out with friends, and you get killed. You don't go home to your babies."

District 1 Councilmember Barbara Bry, along with Mayor Kevin Faulconer, expressed their condolences at the May 1 press conference.

"As a mother and a grandmother, I cannot think of anything more devastating than losing a loved one to senseless gun violence,” Bry said. “ I offer my deepest condolences to the family of the victim who passed away as a result of yesterday's shooting at La Jolla Crossroads.”

GoFundMe accounts have been set up for Monique Clark and for the victims’ medical bills. To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/3q2xigo or www.gofundme.com/3q2z86o, respectively.
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